Astronauts on the International Space Station have used their 3-D printer to make a wrench from instructions sent up in an email.
It is the first time hardware has been “emailed” to space.
Nasa was responding to a request by ISS commander Barry Wilmore for a ratcheting socket wrench.
Previously, if astronauts requested a specific item they could have waited months for it to be flown up on one of the regular supply flights.
Mike Chen, founder of Made In Space, the company behind the 3-D printer, said: “We had overheard ISS Commander Barry Wilmore (who goes by “Butch”) mention over the radio that he needed one, so we designed one in CAD and sent it up to him faster than a rocket ever could have.”
Mr Wilmore installed the printer on the ISS on 17 November. On 25 November he used the machine to fabricate its first object, a replacement part for the printer.
Nasa says the capability will help astronauts be more self-reliant on future long duration space missions.
Mike Chen added: “The socket wrench we just manufactured is the first object we designed on the ground and sent digitally to space, on the fly.
“It also marks the end of our first experiment—a sequence of 21 prints that together make up the first tools and objects ever manufactured off the surface of the Earth.”
The other 21 objects were designed before the 3D printer was shipped to the space station in September on a SpaceX Dragon supply flight.
Analysis: David Shukman, BBC science editor
If a 3D printer can churn out something as useful as a tool in space, what else is possible?
Read more: Nasa emails spanner to space station
The Latest on: 3D Printing in Space
via Google News
The Latest on: 3D Printing in Space
- Relativity Secures a New Launch Site in California for 3D-Printed Rocketson June 28, 2020 at 7:01 am
A new launch site facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California will be Relativity Space‘s latest adoption to its growing portfolio of infrastructure partnerships. With this new ...
- 3D rocket printer Relativity signs deal with Iridium and plans to build a California launchpadon June 24, 2020 at 11:00 am
Relativity Space, a startup that plans to almost entirely 3D-print rockets, on Wednesday announced it struck another major launch deal.
- Startup on quest to 3D-print rockets now has a second launch site on the California coaston June 24, 2020 at 7:00 am
Rocket startup Relativity Space is expanding its launch sites from one to two, with a new agreement to fly its future rocket out of Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California. The deal means ...
- Relativity Space gains new customer in Iridium and new launch site at Vandenbergon June 24, 2020 at 6:13 am
Relativity Space has a new customer for its 3D-printed rockets: Established satellite maker and operator Iridium, which has picked the company for launches in 2023. To accomplish those, and other ...
- Relativity Space to explore launching its 3D-printed rockets from Vandenbergon June 24, 2020 at 4:00 am
Relativity Space has yet to launch one of its 3D-printed rockets but will explore setting up a second launch facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
- Made in Space acquired by private equity firmon June 23, 2020 at 12:58 pm
Jacksonville-based Made in Space, a company's whose 3D printing technology has made products on the International Space Station, has been acquired by Redwire, a private equity-based venture that has ...
- Made In Space Acquired by New Space Company Redwireon June 23, 2020 at 11:27 am
MIS is already well-known in the additive sector for its work in 3D printing in space. In addition to the aforementioned ISS machine, the company subsequently sent up the first commercial system ...
- In-space additive manufacturing startup Made In Space acquired by Redwireon June 23, 2020 at 4:27 am
One of the new space companies that has done the most for popularizing the idea of in-space manufacturing, including use of additive technologies like 3D printing on the International Space Station, ...
- GE Will 3D Print the Bases of Wind Turbines Taller Than Seattle’s Space Needleon June 21, 2020 at 7:00 am
GE thinks 3D printing wind turbine bases can double the height of its turbines to catch more wind and generate more electricity—without breaking the bank.
- 3D printing in space: What I learned from my astronaut mission - by Sabrina Kerberon June 19, 2020 at 2:00 am
Sabrina Kerber reports back from a two-week simulation in which she investigated how 3D printing could be used to improve life on a moonbase.
via Bing News